Monday, July 21, 2014


As everyone who has ever read a work of fiction knows, the work has to have a setting, whether it be this world we live in or in a world specifically created for the work at hand. How does one set about building a world? Much ink has been spilled on that subject and much advice given, absolutely none of which have we paid any attention to. We’ve just built the thing as needed.
    A character has a run-in with a drakta. What’s a drakta? The answer to that question resulted in a short treatise on draktas, complete with a Linden-ized scientific name. Seems only logical. Need a particular dessert? No problem: redberries with cream and spices, a rare and heavenly treat. So, what’s a redberry? Let us check the Linden Lexicon™ and see what that tome has to say:

 redberry, (H), n., plant. The term applies to both the plant and its fruit.  It is found only in Rhindol Vale, and is extremely particular in its habit. It requires a great deal of calcium, and thus is limited to limestone outcrops and the resultant calcareous soils. It often grows in close association with creeping-tree but is not as common. Because of its limited habitat, it is very localized but common when found. It is most frequently encountered on the limestone ridges around Last Chance in the northeastern part of the Vale on the route to Garnet Pass, but is found in a few other locations in the Vale, notably in the SE corner around the approaches to Sythra and a few limestone outcrops in the Blue Mountains along the southern border of Rhindol Vale.
     Its fruit is edible and has a unique flavor that is not easily described, but which causes those who eat of it to go into raptures over it. Consequently, the fruit of the red-berry is the most desired and sought-after fruit in the Vale, the location of particularly bountiful patches being a closely-guarded secret and poachers are treated very roughly. What violence there is in the Vale is usually the result of a dispute over the picking rights to a redberry patch. Some enterprising souls have attempted to cultivate the plant, but without success.

What is the “Linden Lexicon™,” you ask? Ah! It is a growing compendium of every city, town, geographical feature, named person, people, institution, history or anything concerning our world of Linden. It is, in effect, an encyclopedia of Linden. Without it, we would be hard pressed to keep track of everything and everyone in the world and consistency would suffer greatly. With it, we have a plethora of detail that may—or may not—end up in one book or another in the series, With it, as an example, we have recorded within the Lexicon the geological history of the island of Kalyria and the history of the Kalyrian Empire and its capital city, Kirith Kalyria. Some of that gets into the stories and some does not, but knowing those details helps us to understand things more completely and thereby to write better scenes.

We are constantly adding new entries to it, completing existing ones (I’m a bit behind in that) or making revisions to entries if needed. This normally happens only when the plot or circumstances within a book necessitate a change. Such changes are usually minor, but important. The most frequently changed data in the Lexicon is distances, as an entry may have been made some time ago off the top of my head but as the story progresses, it becomes apparent that the number I came up with won’t work. So, we change the Lexicon to a realistic number. Here are a few samples of what one may find withing the pages of this tome:

Aridion, political division. With its capital of Aridion City, the empire of Aridion extends from the southern tip of Greater Aridion to Rhindol Vale on the west and as far north as the Snowy Mountains on the east where its eastern border is considered to be a line drawn from the ruins of the Black Teluri realm of Maloria north to the great bend in the River Ludde. In the center of the sub-continent, the northern border is the Sleeping Giant Hills, to the north of which lie the High Plains of Cala between the Sythrin Mountains and the Black Mountains and which are the domains of the Horse Clans.
      Within this area are several Dwarf realms and Teluri city-states which are independent kingdoms in their own right but are allied with the empire. 
      Aridion was originally a city-state, Aridion City, founded by the People of the Long Ships in 5337, one hundred years after their arrival on the eastern shores of Greater Aridion. Their initial landing place became their first settlement and was named Blue Bay after the blue waters of the bay in which they landed. This is north of the present-day city of Corellon at the mouth of the Blue River. 
      To escape the depredations of pirates and slavers who haunted the eastern coast, the Long Ship people moved inland, eventually settling where the river Ari emerges from the Sythrin Mountains. Safe from the raids of the pirates, the new town quickly grew and prospered and the Long Ship people helped greatly to stabilize the area which was still recovering from the destruction of the Dim Times (ended SW 4001).

Aridion, Greater, place. A sub-continent of the world of Linden. It's northern borders lie in the Roof of the World, and most scholars consider that the northern borders of the Teluri realm of Lilientharien constitute the northern end of Greater Aridion. It is bounded by the Dawn Sea on the east and the Dusk Sea on the west. The sub-continent extends south  to 14º 3' 0' N, a distance of approximately 2000 mi. It is approximately 900 miles wide at the mouth of the Rhindolin River and slowly narrows down to about half that at Gormidad in the south. Within this area, there are extensive mountain ranges (approx. 50% of the total land mass is mountains) which contain many peaks above 15,000 feet, most of which remain unnamed. The named peaks include Silvertop (16,782 ft.) in the Roof of the World, Wind Lord (18,945 ft.) and Thunder Lord (16,323 ft) in the Sythrin Range and the Throne of the High One in the Black Mountains, which at 27,358 ft. is the highest point in Greater Aridion. The non-mountainous regions include swamp, desert, jungle, steppe, plains and hills. The mountain ranges are covered primarily in coniferous forests in the north and central portion, with deciduous trees progressively gaining prominence the further south one goes. South of the southern tip of the Sythrins, the only coniferous forests are found on the western slopes of the southern coastal mountains, the eastern side being too dry to support trees.  Consequently, the climate varies from permanently frozen ice in the far north to steamy tropical weather in the south.  
      Once home to all of the Greater Races, only the Teluri, Humans, Dwarves and Giants are known to still exist in the region. The Fæorlinga, are now probably extinct, as no confirmed sightings have been recorded since the Dim Times. With such a great geographic range, it is not surprising that the region is blessed with a wide variety of natural resources (e. g. gold, silver, silverstone, etc.) and a vast catalogue of animal and plant life,  with over 100,000 kinds of plants known, 3000 animals and birds, 2000 fish, and innumerable insects and vermin. The southern jungles are especially prolific and account for approximately 25% of the total number of plants, 50% of the insects, and 20% of the fish. It is especially rich in kinds of birds. 
     Among the notable creatures known to live in Greater Aridion are all five known varieties of draktain (see drakta); the Wild Horse of Ronn; the Blue Lantern Beetle and Demon’s Mouth, a biting fly (see Insects) and the Spiralhorn. There are many more remarkable creatures, both on land & in the oceans surrounding Greater Aridion. It is recommended that the interested reader consult The Greater Aridion Book of Life, by Master Gilhooli, which attempts to catalogue all know forms of life in the subcontinent.

Aridion City, place. Capital of the empire of Aridion.

Caldor (D).  Dwarf of Sythra known for his long, luxurious red beard. A common oath in the Vale is By Caldor’s beard! Caldor was famous for other exploits which the writer of this work declines to relate as unbefitting proper company.

Breikka’s Inn (H), place. Town in the rolling northern plains on the road between Pyr and North Ford on the road to Blue Bay. In 6032 and for reasons known only to himself, Breikka Shortbeard left his home in the Dwarf delving of Starkhad in the far northern Snowy Mountains and established an inn at a point between Pyr and North Ford on the road to Blue Bay, the main sea port for Aridion City before the sinking of Kalyria and the subsequent development of Corellon. His inn quickly became  known for the fine quality of its food, and he soon added a stable to accommodate the mounts of his guests. Healso added an extension to the inn itself, thereby doubling his dining space and increasing the number of rooms to 75. 
    It didn’t take long for other entrepreneurs to take advantage of the popularity of Breikka’s establishment by building other facilities to handle his overflow, and soon a small village grew up around the Inn.     People began beseeching Breikka to teach them his method of cooking, and the demand for such training soon became too much for the Dwarf to ignore. He built an attached cooking school to accommodate a maximum of 30 students, which limit is in force today. It was promptly filled, even though the entry requirements were stiff and competition keen, and the fees exorbitant. Breikka’s School of Cuisine got an additional boost when Delanorian I, king of Aridion, granted it Royal status in gratitude for the fine wedding feast that Breikka and his staff had provided when the king married Nirna, the Princess Royal of Kalyria. Breikka promptly re-named his cooking school The Royal School of Most Excellent Cuisine and Fine Cooking.
     Breikka earlier had run afoul of the Most Honourable Company of Bakers and Confectioners, the guild of the bakers and candy makers of Aridion, when he began teaching classes in fancy desserts and confections and thereby intruding into what the Company rightfully considered their exclusive territory. This feud ran on for some years with occasional confrontations ending in fisticuffs and public brawls between members of the rival factions before finally being resolved by Royal Decree during the reign of Delanorian II who settled the issue by making all graduates of Breikka’s school members of the bakers & confectioners guild AND members of their own guild, the Private Association of Practioners of the Fine Art of High Cuisine and Fine Cooking. This served to mollify both the Company and the chefs and kept the peace.

Ethelendar the Bald (H), 8346 - 8449. The oldest harper ever to make Master, he earned his Master’s cord at the age of 63. He entered the harper hall at Aridion City at age 46 when he was accepted as a journeyman, it being deemed that his time spent as an itinerant minstrel (26 years) was an acceptable apprenticeship. His long-time patron, Jermin Whitehose, wealthy landowner of Rothcrest in Rhindol Vale, was loathe to loose him, but on the other hand, felt that Ethelendar’s successful entry into the Master Hall was due to his influence and thus was a credit to him, but then Jermin tended to exaggeration. Ethelendar went bald at age of 35. It was rumored that he accredited this event to life in the afore-mentioned patron’s household, but this has not been verified. He lived to the ripe old age of 103 and was buried with great honor in the extensive vaults beneath the Master Hall in Aridion City.

The Downs, place. The villages of High Downs, Old Downs and New Downs in Rhindol Vale are often referred to by this term, as they are each no more than ½ mile or so from the other. Located on the Black Downs, the residents of these villages are, not surprisingly, closely interrelated. High Downs and Old Downs are the oldest of the three, and were founded within a few years of each other, the exact timing a matter of some dispute to this day, but about SW 7835. New Downs was founded about 50 years after Old Downs as the result of an argument between two brothers, Mikel and Edwin Sweetman, over a matter of two coppers. Edwin packed up his family and moved 3/4 mile SW of Old Downs and settled there. Two cousins and their families went with him. These two villages to this day deny their relationship, to the annoyance of the residents of High Downs who have relatives in both of the other two villages. 

volnaka (H, n., from Com. volna, water < OA volona [OA: volo, life + ona, breath, spirit] + dim.  suffix -(a)ka ). An intoxicating distilled spirit made from potatoes and other, secret, ingredients. It is the secret ingredients that give the drink its unique flavor which has been variously described as “unique,” “indescribable” and “I don’t remember.” It has the capability of wiping out the memory of ever having drunk it. This drink is unique to Cromb and is made by a single family whose identity is often disputed and who guard the recipe jealously. No one has ever succeeded in finding out what the special ingredients are. Little is exported, the quantities produced being sufficient for local consump- tion. It is a clear liquid that is very potent and can be used in lamps in an emergency, as the alcohol  content is about 98%. It has also been used as an excellent, though very expensive, paint-thinner and stripper.

–Richard, 7/21/14

 More on the Linden Lexicon™ can be found at Lindensaga(TM)